The boy/ stood on/ the burn/ing deck
Whence all/ but him/ had fled;
The flame/ that lit/ the batt/le’s wreck
Shone round/ him o’er/ the dead.
Yet beau/tiful /and brigh/t he stood,
As born/ to rule/ the storm;
A crea/ture of/ hero/ic blood,
A proud/, though child/like form.
The flames/ rolled on/ — he would /not go
Without/ his fath/er’s word;
That fath/er, faint/ in death/ below,
His voice/ no long/er heard.
He called/ aloud/ — “Say, fath/er, say,
If yet/ my task/ is done?”
He knew/ not that/ the chief/tain lay
Un/con/scious of/ his son.
“Speak, fath/er!” once/ again/ he cried,
“If I/ may yet/ be gone!”
And but/ the boom/ing shots/ replied,
And fast/ the flames/ rolled on.
Upon/ his brow/ he felt/ their breath,
And in/ his wav/ing hair,
And looked/ from that/ lone post/ of death
In still, yet brave despair.
And shout/ed but/ once more/ aloud,
“My fath/er! must/ I stay?”
While o’er/ him fast/, through sail/ and shroud,
The wreath/ing fires/ made way.
They wrapt/ the ship/ in splen/dor wild,
They caught/ the flag /on high,
And streamed/ above/ the gall/ant child,
Like bann/ers in/ the sky.
There came/ a burst/ of thun/der sound–
The boy/ — oh! where/ was he?
Ask of/ the winds/ that far/ around
With frag/ments strewed/ the sea!–
With mast/, and helm/, and pen/non fair
That well/ had borne/ their part–
But the nob (anapest)/lest thing/ that per/ished there
Was that/ young, faith/ful hear!
Felicia Hemans’  “Casabianca”, is written in Iambic tetrameter/trimeter with substitutions. It is written in A/B/A/B rhyme scheme with “A”= tetrameter and “B”= trimeter throughout the entire poem (as you can see by the feet I have added).
The foot note on page 566 doesn’t leave much room for mistaken interpretation. Casbianca is a tale of courage and loyalty I would say. A young boy, thirteen years of age, remains at his post on a ship that is taken by siege. He refuses to leave his father side, through flames and gunfire. This act of love and respect towards his father ultimately leads to his death.
I personally loved that the poem was written in such a repetitive rhyme scheme and meter; not only this poem, but most poems. I feel that it is not only more fun and intriguing to read, but somehow, it seems easier to understand, or to predict what is coming next.
Loved it!